|The Netherlands' Edward Gal jogs Glock's Voice. Photo by Jennifer Bryant.|
All 16 competitors at the 2017 FEI World Cup Dressage Final have cleared the final pre-competition hurdle: Their mounts have passed the horse inspection, aka "the jog" or, in Britain, "the trot-up."
In the horse inspection, the four-member FEI Veterinary Commission appointed for this competition watches as each horse is jogged in hand on a straight line, down and back in a prescribed pattern. The objective: to determine whether the horse is fit to compete.
|Laura Graves and Verdades of the USA. Photo by Jennifer Bryant.|
Occasionally the excitement, coupled with the crowd of onlookers and the wall of journalists' clicking cameras, gets the better of a horse, as it did for the first horse to jog, Argentina's Bandurria Kacero (they jog in alphabetical order by country name). If officials aren't able to see enough trot because of equine hijinks, they'll ask the competitor to jog again. But apparently Bandurria Kacero wasn't so crazy that they couldn't evaluate him.
|At least one horse typically gets overexcited during the jog. Maria Florencia Manfredi of Argentina has her hands full with Bandurria Kacero. Photo by Jennifer Bryant.|
|Inessa Merkulova of Russia had to jog Mister X twice before the horse was accepted for competition. Photo by Jennifer Bryant.|
The only rider whose heart must have been in her mouth for a few tense moments was Inessa Merkulova of Russia, who was asked to jog Mister X a second time -- and not because he was being unruly. The veterinarians do that when they think they see something the first time around and want to have another look. Merkulova was undoubtedly relieved when Mister X was passed after repeating the jog.
So, now, on with the show! The World Cup Dressage Final competition gets under way tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. CDT with the Grand Prix. Per World Cup rules, the Grand Prix does not itself count toward the final placings; it serves only as a qualifier for the Grand Prix Freestyle, the results of which determine the winner.